Friday 18 December 2009


I grew up in the south of Greece... hot summers, mild winters, not a lot of rain (when I was at Uni, I would not bother to go to classes when it was raining... still managed to pass the exams as my absences were not that many... go figure how often did it rain!) and snow would come once in ever 5 years perhaps... And even then, it would only be for a few hours in the morning usually and then it would just melt leaving me an my brother so sad... We just loved it and still do! For me it also has a more special meaning as I remember the day my brother was born as the first time I saw snow! Tiny flakes falling by my feet! No, wasn't  much, but still it was one of those rare times and the first for the 3 (and a half) year-old me!

Sometimes, when we were children, our parents would even take us to short day trips only to be up on the mountains and enjoy a snow fight or two! And we still smile when we see the pictures of us in the early 80's  when lots of snow came down from the sky for the first time in our little town and we, small and colourful in our jackets and boots and cloves, had made a snowman in my grand mother's back yard! Ah, that feeling! And the stories to share with our friends for whom, them living in the same area,  snow was also a rare and beloved  treat!

I still feel this way about snow! And two days ago, I pulled the curtains in my bedroom and I saw the neighborhood all white! The view from the 12th floor was spectacular! The small park next to my building was all covered by a white sheet and the kids crossing it to go to the nearby school would leave their tiny marks on the whiteness... so pretty! So calm! Surely I had to drive to work and run errands afterwards but that did not spoil my mood... ok, I was a bit frightened about driving but it proved to be easier than I thought :)

So, yes, there's no doubt that a white snow-y scenery gives me a feeling better than shoes! And it is true that snow combines very well with shoes too as it is the best reason to go and get provided with a pair of stylish moon boots (Mark Jacobs perhaps?...) but even without them... it still feels grrrrreat!!

PS. Happy Holidays to everyone, I will be resting and (hopefully) enjoying "better than shoes" experiences for the coming two weeks so, see you all back here in the New Year!

Tuesday 15 December 2009


...No, I'm not talking about great achievements! Obviously discovering the cure for cancer would be better than shoes in anyone's book and it would be pretty predictable (borderline boring even...) for me to write about... So, no, I'm not referring to achievements of this caliber... I'm talking about smaller, much smaller things, that one sees through successfully and make one (the same one usually...) feel a sense of accomplishment and joy for having done things properly!  And it is that feeling of success that I had recently and, in comparison, felt better than a new pair of gray Miu Miu pumps (that I also got recently ;)

I was entrusted with the task to organize, together with a colleague of mine, the most important social event of my directorate (and, no, I will not waste your precious time explaining the organizational details of the organization where I'm employed, you would really be bored to oblivion... just keep in mind that I am part of a directorate of about 25 people and these are my immediate work colleagues). It was the third time that we were, the two of us, responsible for the event and I would not be far off if I were to say that it was the best one we organized! (some people also said it was the best ever but, hey, don't need to brag... ). And yes, the preparations were a big part of the fun! We got to try different restaurants, along with a small but international group of colleagues, try and chose the wine, set the menu, prepare greeting cards and little presents and see that everything was done as best as possible! And on the day, last Friday, it was a success!

To me, the best thing of all was not to receive all the compliments and "thank you's" that I did receive (and that does not mean that I did not appreciate them, not at all) and not even the flowers that they were so kind to offer me but the smiles on everyone's faces! Smiles that appeared around noon, when everybody entered the restaurant, and lasted at least until 8 in the evening when I left leaving still a big group of people in the restaurant! And, from what I hear, long after! Everyone was having a good time and though I do believe that the consumption of the marvelous champagne we started with and the wines that followed did have a lot to do with the mood of the people, I also believe that it was the fact that the lunch (if one can call an 8-hours feast "lunch"...) was really a pleasant and successful one! And that was partly because of me!

Small achievement... yes, indeed. But and achievement nonetheless! And it gave me great pleasure to know that I had done my part well! Certainly not a one-man-show, a team work that went really well! Us, the organizers, the chef, the service, everything so much more than just ok! And at the end of the day everybody had had a good time and they will remember it dearly! And this is better than shoes! For me at least...

Saturday 5 December 2009

a girl's day out :)

I had the best day!! Woke up early but rested and had a cappuccino and a chocolate muffin for breakfast... so indeed, the day started on the right foot!  Then, took my shower and got out of the house heading for Amsterdam... knowing that today's holiday would make the shops packed with people buying last minute's presents (today's holiday: Sinterklaas... a strange dutch holiday where a white rich grandpa who brings presents to kids -and  is therefore hugely loved- is followed by a black servant/beggar/slave/devil who most kids are afraid of like the boogie man... have to love this so not racist society... but, ok, don't get me started with social matters or I won't be writing about anything better than shoes...) Anyway, got there early, before the masses,  and enjoyed a great day of shopping!!

Great shopping means for me two things: Getting what you want (and in your size and everything...) and getting it in a good price! Now, as for service, it is essential too, no doubt about it, however living here all these years has lowered my standards... but today was a lovely exception in this domain too! I did get great service! Is it the crisis? I wonder... No matter the reason, I was pleasantly surprised! And the sales were fantastic! Got everything I needed with 30-50% off! I know, I know, you all share my excitement!

And on top of it, I got to escape the rain! Let me explain something for those reading this from afar (oh, lucky ones!)... In The Netherlands, it rains... a lot... sometimes it forgets to stop... for days... and because of that we have all become weather experts! Applications for the mobile phones and web sites showing the rain showers come and go with remarkable accuracy have become our best friends... needless to say, my best friends too as I, coming from the south, have a certain intolerance to water falling down to my head unless it is in the shower... and not even there every time!! So today, I consulted every bit of online information I could get my hands on and made it to Amsterdam and back dry! Though it has been raining before I got out of the house and right after I got back in! Now, isn't this wonderful??

And to complete this perfect day, I had a very late lunch with a glass of champagne (so many reasons to celebrate :) and a nap on the sofa while watching a film... Bliss!! So, after all this I believe that I'm entitled to say that days like today, days that we girls enjoy our discounted shopping sprees, remain dry and have some home-y relaxation afterward ARE better than shoes!!! Especially because they combine so well with a new pair of Zanotti light glitter ballerinas I got ;)

Friday 4 December 2009

as promised...

... a photo of my Christmas tree :) Now, a photo, they say, is like a thousand words so this should cover this post and surely this time it is up to you to judge if it is better than shoes... but remember, it is the feeling of the holidays that matters ;)


I came to The Netherlands 9 years and 6 days ago... I was carrying two bags that managed to contain my whole previous life (and veeeeeery few pairs of shoes...) and that was everything I needed for my new start here... I had decided that this would be indeed a new start and I wanted to be free from the past, free from previously acquired burdens... There was one more thing I brought, one thing that could not fit in those two bags because it was enormous: My desire to try new things and to gather as many experiences I could!!

I still remember the first time I tried raw fish... I was in Paris, of all places and about 9 years back... I also remember (as I'm not thaaaaaat old yet...) my preconceptions on the matter: "you know, in Japan, they eat raw fish!!!! yuk!!!" So that night that I was taken, as part of a big group of people, to a Japanese restaurant somewhere in the French capital (for the life of me I have no idea where it was... only that there was a spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the night!!) it was only my timidity that made me try the food as I was too embarrassed to say "sorry, I'm too disgusted to put it in my mouth!!"... so, I did try it... It was a revelation! Ever so fresh salmon sashimi, melting in my mouth, delicate sushi rolls of rice filled with tuna and crispy seaweed (took me quite a while to know it's called "nori" but, hey, now I know :) and all that accompanied by warm sake that put a smile, a big smile, on my face! So, that was it! I was hooked!

The other night I went out to a Japanese restaurant with a dear friend and neighbor who also likes the raw delicacy as much as I do! And in between our lovely conversation, we were both exclaiming "mmmmmmm, delicious" as we were savoring the food! I have to say that I have the same feeling of delight whenever I eat sushi or sashimi as that first time in Paris! And, needless to say, when I was in Japan a couple of years ago, I was one of the happiest people on the earth for eating it every day!

Now, can I prove to you that sushi is better than shoes? Better than that pair of round-tow Prada pumps with the embroidery on the leather that I spotted the other day? Hmmmm... Perhaps not... And perhaps one does not have to choose...The fact of the matter is that I did not bring any shoes back from Japan (and neither from Paris on that visit...) and that to me, a mouth full of fresh, raw salmon is one of the pleasures in life I could not live without!

PS. What?! Don't like it?! Pleeeeease, try it once more and let your tongue do the tasting not your preconceptions ;)

Sunday 29 November 2009


I'm not a traditionally traditional person... I decided very early in my life that it was not for me... Had I not, I would still be living in the small town I grow up, possibly next to (or above of...) my mother's place, would have gotten a post as a civil servant in the town (probably by means of connections...) and I would be married and have two kids by now... None of this applies to me though it is the traditional path a woman follows were I come from... Studies are ok as long as tradition is followed afterward... I chose a different path, I do not remember to call people when it is their name day, I do not feel particularly fond of guts of lamb on a spit  for Easter, I do not fast when everyone does (not even on the last day of the carnival...) and I do not like traditional dances... at all!!

But, especially after I came to live in The Netherlands, I created my own little traditions... little quirky things I like to repeat... like wearing a new something (clothes, shoes -mostly- or jewelery) for New Year's Eve so that the new year finds me with something new on, or buying me a present for my birthday so that even if I don't get any more, I still got one gift for the day... this type of things with the most important one of them being the "it's Christmas time" day! (which usually falls on the weekend right before the 1st of December or on, it depending of the calendar)

Now, I have already explained the importance of Christmas for me and how strongly I believe that the feeling of being Christmas time it's better than shoes... so you can all imaging that "it's Christmas time" day is equally important and equally better than shoes!!! And it is today!!! Early morning I got the tree out of it's box, got totally covered in dust and memo-ed me to clean the storage room... eventually. Then, I put it up, which usually takes about an hours (yes, only for that an hour...) as it is very big and with lots of branches and bits and pieces. Then I put on the lights and the ornaments and then the top piece... and then I sat down and took pictures... many pictures! After a quick shower (there had been a lot of dust...) I made a quick lunch and with a glass of wine I wished to myself to be well and do it next year too! And then, I got comfy on the sofa and watched "Love actually..."!!! The "it's Christmas time" day is not complete unless the decoration of the Christmas tree is followed by the definitive Christmas movie!!! And all this I do every year since I got the film... and if it is not that it will be another equally Christmas-y film to complete the day... before I fall asleep on the sofa (which happens much more often than "it's Christmas time" day I must confess...)

So this is my small, personal tradition, one I look forward to and which is leaving me every year feeling like a million euros and certainly better than a new pair of shoes would make me feel :) As I know both feelings, I can say that in confidence! :)

PS. Yes, my tree comes out of a box... and yes, it is by no means better than a real one... but who could ever get a real one this early??? ;)

Thursday 26 November 2009


I was on a "mission" to Munich for two days this week... that's just a fancy way we choose to call business trips where I work... Because we are no "business" but in the service of the public I guess... or something... Whatever the reason for the name, precisely like common business trips, our "missions" too are as boring as can be, as expected as can be, as tiring as can be and (usually...) as unnecessary as can be...  So, really, no need for the change in name, they are essentially the same thing... And though (as can be seen from the opinion just expressed...) I'm not a great fan of them, sometimes we get to visit cool places, like Munich, and -most importantly- sometimes these trips do come with a bonus: reunions!

No... Not the American type of reunions...  like, ten years after leaving high school, going back to show to all those who rejected you back then how much weight you've lost (and not attending the event when, mercilessly,  the weight was gained instead...) or to show off the diamond/rock on the finger -and occasionally the new husband- or the car or the stocks or the plastic surgery... No, those cannot possibly be compared to shoes and prove to be better... I would gladly take a pair of hiking boots (and the hiking along with them..) instead of such a dreadful experience... No,  I'm talking about reuniting with good friends one has not had the pleasure of meeting for a long time!

Two of my best friends moved to Munich a couple of years ago... both of them more or less the same time, a few months apart... and I'm still pissed off with them! I know, even if I do not admit it very often, that it was for the best for both of them... but my selfish self still misses them and I wish from time to time that they hadn't left.. And this week (due to the mission... or perhaps that was MY mission :) I had the great pleasure of reuniting with both of them! And it was like not a day had passed! The same lively conversations, the ease in discussions, the jokes, the laughter, the news, the gossip, all of it as if it had not been so long since I had met them last in reality! Precious moments... moments one feels the security of a friendship being still present as well as the joy of the meeting, both wrapped up in one big happy package!

So, in this post I not only argue that reunions with dear old friends, not met for a good while, ARE better than shoes, but I have a way to prove it: I was in one of the most chic European metropolises and I did not (repeat: did not!!!) go shoe-shopping! True!! Instead, I chose to be with my friends! And I have not regretted it one bit!!

Thursday 19 November 2009

"it's Greek to me"

Working in an international organization for the last 9 years has been an amazing experience for me for the simple (and could say, "only")  reason that I have made friends from all over  Europe... I have good friends from France, Germany, Portugal, Scotland, England, Italy, Spain and the list continues... but no, it does not comprise the Dutch... observing them for 9 years has lead me into the conclusion that in their society, the things I consider vices are seen as virtues and it would take me to deny a very big part of who I am to befriend them... Anyway, leaving these realizations aside, having friends from so many different countries  is great as it has helped  me broaden my horizons, see things from totally different perspectives, get to know different cultures and mentalities and "step out" of the borders of my country.

Yes, having international friends is wonderful as long as one also has friends from the same country close by too... For me obviously that's the Greeks... their lively, heated at times conversations, the warmth of their company, the comfort and easiness of speaking the same (mother) tongue, the understanding of situations that is common because we come from the same background, the shared mentality and tastes, the grumpiness, the gossip, the profound, the philosophy and the mundane, all of that that makes us fellow countrymen, all that is hugely important :) The good news is that I have great Greek friends here too! And though they might be the minority in my big group of friends here, they are valuable and cherished and I could not live here without them! And that is said in all honesty!

Last night I had the pleasure of dinning out with them... and in a Greek restaurant too! So, add greek food to all that I mentioned above and you have the picture and an idea of how fantastic the night was! First a glass of champagne offered by one of the guys in his cosy and very stylish home, lots of laughs to go with it, then the restaurant with the nice people attending to us, as always in a friendly atmosphere, the wine, the food, more laughs and talks and analysis and opinions... Just perfect... And better than a new pair of shoes... any pair of shoes... and you can let your imagination fly to the most exquisite ones you can think of... Still, dinner with my Greek friends would win :)

Monday 16 November 2009

't' is the season to be jolly...

Ever since I was a child, I looooved Christmas!! The tree, the carols, the presents, the festive clothes, the exceptional food, the traditional greek sweets, the Christmas movies and songs, the house being full of friends and family, the cards, everything made me the happiest person on the face of this earth! Come mid-December I would wear my nicest smile and walk around with it until at least the 7th of January when I would have to go back to school :)

This habit follows me all my life. Even losing my beloved grandma on the second day of Christmas did not change how I feel about this time of the year. I was 8 and it was her birthday when she passed and though I will always remember those ones as the saddest ones, I still kept loving Christmas and the following year I had the usual smile again! And, mind you, I'm not religious and have not been for a good part of my life but it is not about that for me, it is not about religion... It's about the glamour and warmth and the exceptional... it's about spending time to find the perfect gift for your loved ones, it's about thinking of the special menu for the day, the special outfit (and certainly about the perfect shoes!!!) about the lights and the colours that can be in abundance during the holidays and not be tacky at all!

Since I came to the Netherlands (except for that first year here that I remember buying a tree on Christmas Eve as I did not know yet where to get it... had been here for 3 weeks you see... and I decorated it while snow started to come down from the sky... only time ever...) I have been decorating my tree earlier and earlier... This year the plan is to put it up on the 28th of November, as (it is a Saturday and I will have some time and...) my tree has to be up and sparkling the whole month of December! The idea is to enjoy it as much as possible before I go home... home to Greece that is :) And until then, I will keep all the presents underneath it as I buy them! And every night I will turn of all the lights but those on the tree and sip slowly my tea while enjoying the view!!

Perhaps I am a bit early to write about this stuff but the other day I was in big store buying some new ornaments and listening to Wham and their last Christmas, again, as every year about this time, and I really got in the mood! And as there is no doubt in my head that the December holiday season IS better than shoes and this feeling of being a child again that I get IS better than Louboutin very privé 12cm pumps (that are veeeery hard to beat...) I thought I post this... and I will be posting a picture of my tree as soon it is ready :) Until then, here's what I compare the Christmas feeling with ;)

Sunday 15 November 2009

Ladies' night!

I live here in The Netherlands for 9 years and in these 9 years I have made a lot of friends... almost all of them with one thing in common: Adam's apple!! Be it because of my job where most of my colleagues are men or because most expat women of my age came here with a husband or a boyfriend (or acquired one very quickly...) and by now they have three kids and not a lot of time to socialize between PTA meetings or even because I do no find I share anything with the native ladies in order to develop a friendship, I have not been able to have close female friends...

And because I'm not one of those women who, perhaps because of being competitive or insecure or I don't know what, do not seek female company, I do miss having friends of my gender... Men are great, funny and honest and pretty straighforward and as I said I do have a lot of friends of the kind but they cannot compensate for women! As we say sometimes "men are wonderful but if you want someone to talk to, talk to your girlfriends"... because they most likely will understand what you mean and men most likely won't! Moreover, try talking to a (straight) man about why you prefer last winter's Jimmy Choo collection better or about the most coveted zebra leather platforms by the guru Christian Louboutin and you will have to face charges for boring him to death!!!!

Lately though things have changed as the coolest girl has moved into the building where I live! A friend of a friend and now a friend of everyone this lively Portuguese and her Maltese (female as well :) have both entered my life to give me exactly what was missing: girlfriends! 

So, last nigh I was invited to a "ladies only" dinner party by this new girlfriend and I have to say that I enjoyed it immensely!! A room full of women of more or less the same age, independent, intelligent, working ladies with all the joys and the problems of being an independent, intelligent, working woman nowadays, being involved in all kinds of discussions about everything that concerns us... work, men, travels, being an expat, books, music, beauty, food and the list goes on and on... Great food offered by our host, great wine that untied the tongues and words were coming out like rivers (even from my mouth and I'm very far from being proficient in Portuguese...) great, warm atmosphere... Overall, a night to remember!

And I would be just stating the obvious if I were to say that I am grateful to have a new girlfriend and to have been invited to be part of her circle of girlfriends and to have had such a perfect night but... what the hell, I will do it anyway! I am grateful and I do feel lucky and yes, nights like this are better than shoes!

ps. Happy birthday S :)  

Monday 9 November 2009

big in Japan...

A good friend of mine is in Japan... and I'm jealous of him!! But him being there brought back so many memories to me... I've always been fascinated by this country, partly because its history goes way back (further back perhaps than that of my own) and partly because its culture is so absolutely different than the one I come from... or perhaps because I was very young when "Shogun", that TV series from the 80's, was on and I got charmed by those images of the geishas and the tea ceremony and the katanas and all... I don't know and I don't care... The important is that when I visited the far east a couple of years ago, I fell in love with it :)

That trip, I can tell you, cost me a lot of pairs of shoes... but it was money worth spent, every cent of it! And I cannot wait for the day that I will go back there and though it is a big world and there are so many places that I want to see, Japan stays at the top of my list!

When I was there, the most beautiful place I visited was a garden... not a very big one and I guess not a very famous one either because there were not that many visitors... a garden in the heart of Tokyo, a stone's through from Ropongi Hills for those who have been there, surrounded by sky-scrapers and the faint sound of the city noises...

When one passes the gate and enters the garden, it's like what has been described to me as entering Eden... and if Eden does exist (and I do not have any proof of that, obviously...) I bet it would look like that garden... the peace and the quiet and the smells of spring (I was a lucky visitor...) and the sounds of the birds and the images of the trees and the ponds and the magnificent koi carp swimming in the water and coming out to greet the people who would take a moment to tell them "konitchiwa" was an experience I will never forget!!

I bought my bento box of sushi from the food plaza of the nearby office building and got into the garden... sat on a bench under a tree and had my lunch... then took a walk in the garden, to discover every corner of it... and then got back to "my" bench and... I had a nap... and that whole experience was better that any shoe I ever wore or coveted and would always be preferred over any, and I repeat ANY, foot treasure I could be offered :)

I don't know how to end this piece of text, I guess suggesting you visit Japan and my dream garden is too obvious and expected... so I won't... I will just post a picture of it for you...

Sunday afternoon...

I adore Sundays... but only until the evening... then I get the blues and I feel again like when I was a child and Sunday evening would come and eventually the music of the opening credits of that sports show on TV would be heard... and for all the kids of my generation that marked the end of the weekend and the beginning of the new school week ... and I can assure you that even today, whenever I hear that particular music I get the blues... and not just me, as I said, a whole generation :)

But, those Sunday afternoons... when there is nothing to be done or, to be more honest, there is nothing that will be done no matter how necessary or urgent (like the laundry for example...) might be, with one leg on top of the other, laying comfortably on the sofa, preferably cuddled next to a loving partner or together with a good friend and watching a film... ahhhh, very few things can compete with that!

Yesterday, I had one of those... although I had promised to myself to go to the shops to try and find a pair of mid-heel pumps that would combine with my new black pencil skirt, and already having my eye set on Italian leather... I did not move out of the house! Which basically proves my point that a lazy, comfy, film-watching on a Sunday afternoon is, indeed, better than shoes!

Now, to tell you the truth, I do plan to go out and get those pumps next Saturday... Since, in this case, it is not really a matter of one or the other... But, yesterday, I did chose to stay home and relax and enjoy the "doing nothing" instead of a new pair of shoes... :)

Friday 6 November 2009

a sofa and a blanket...

Autumn is a depressing season... even if one is the most cheerful person in the world, assuming that one knows the whole world to verify this, November comes with the rain and the cold and the darkness and it just gets to you. The memories of the summer are still in our minds and the comparison with the "now" is unavoidable... the "now" loosing miserably in the comparison... and the Christmas season has not started just yet to cheer us up... Even the excitement of the new season's shoe collections cannot take away the blues that the weather brings... or at least not completely ;)

How does one survive this time of the year? Well, this way or the other we all know that Autumn is bound to come to an end, soon the Winter will meet us and then the Spring and then again the Summer... So we know, to begin with, that this is only a temporary depression... Does that help? Not really, no... Does a shopping spree help? Well, yes and no... Surely a new pair of Lanvin's patent leather ballerinas can bring a smile on a girls face and a pair of Ugg boots in a new colour can maintain it there longer but... is that all?

I found another trick... Instead of cursing the rain and the darkness and the cold, all those elements that make me want to hide in my home while cursing all the way through April , I embrace them! I run home after work, put on my pajamas, make a hot tea and sink in the sofa... to complete the pleasure, I cover myself up in a fluffy, wool blanket... ahhhhh, like this I can just watch cooking programs on TV and then the quizzes and the news... Before I know it, it's time for dinner! And, yes, I do now that this is very close to the definition of a "couch potato", but this is a desperate time calling for desperate measures!

Now, to make things clear... it's obviously NOT Autumn that is better than shoes... and not the "couch potato" status... but this feeling of a comfy sofa and a soft blanket while outside the rain falls, is a good one! And at times, better than shoes... So, when you have tried it all and have topped that credit card to the limit (making it unusable for the next 6 months at least) with numerous bills of foot candy, try my trick. Perhaps you will discover a new little pleasure in life...

ps. do not forget the tea... it's essential ;)

Saturday 31 October 2009

comments about sex...

During these last few weeks, I mentioned the subject of this blog to some friends who, when the idea behind it was explained to them, rushed to note "you certainly have mentioned sex, right?!"...

Well, no... I haven't so far... Sex per se is not better than shoes in my opinion... In fact, I can recall times (not many, thank the universe...) when I would have traded a particular sexual experience with a pair of "leatherette" ZARA pumps... that bad... And I suspect that any of you fashionistas out there would agree with me that a good pair of shoes always wins compared to the average 11 minutes (according to Paulo Coelho...) of mating... And, yes, I would bring as an example all those arranged marriages in which the groom is so old, so old he doesn't even remember what it is to have sex but so rich, so rich that the bride can have a room full of red sole footwear... and she chose this... (and, I will not focus on the fact that in most of these cases she also enjoys mind-blowing sex with the gardener... because that ruins my argument..)

Needless to say that only a few things can compare to good sex... and when I say "good", I mean "gooooooood"... yes, you all know what I mean, the type that leaves you not only breathless at the end but also dehydrated, disoriented, with a slight memory loss and incapacitated as far as your lower limbs go... those moments that walking to the kitchen (assuming that you are not already in it...) feels like climbing the Everest and building a house on the top... Yes, that type of sex that I hope all of you have experienced (those who have not, do not despair and keep looking...) and will never forget... and yes, those moments will be better than shoes in your mind... and mine as well...

But a generalization is not appropriate and that is the reason why I had not talked about the subject so far and I only do it in this spirit now... Surely you all can have your opinion and comments are welcome but in any case I wanted to note where I stand on the matter :)

Friday 30 October 2009

of love and chicken soup...

I got the flu... and a nasty one... I managed to get sick while on what was supposed to be a romantic, fun, mini-break in the most beautiful city in the world... and have been sick since a week now... so I cursed my "luck" who wanted me coughing and feverish and weak and miserable there and here... but while cursing this luck, I have been thanking my other luck, the real luck who got me blessed with a partner who's been an angel during all this!

No, he did not get angry I got sick in our holidays (obviously it would have been silly as.. it's not like I can control it... but I just mention it...) no, he was taking care of me, trying to make things as easy as possible for me and repeating that it was so awful I was sick.. not for him and the change in the plans, after all we did not go out clubbing on Saturday, but for me being suffering. And he really went out of his way to make the trip back as comfortable as he could, though admittedly it was pretty tough for me. And he's been full of compassion and care and love since we got back.

He's been going to the supermarket and doing the shopping for me everyday and then he's been here cooking chicken soup for me and keeping me company every night for hours, just so that I don't get lonely... because he does understand that being home alone and flu-ish for a week is a bitch... And he didn't care that he had to bring in different food for him and cook it here (who wants to have patient's food every day...) he just did it because he cares for me as no other has ever cared. Giving for the mere joy of giving...

And today, I managed to go out to the supermarket myself (yeah, yeah, I know, big deal, but believe you me, after this week was not damn easy..) and all I wanted was to have a nice dinner at home with him, to cook for him as he has been doing all week for me. And we did :) he came here early so that we have the evening for ourselves and we enjoyed the dinner and a chat and watching a film and life felt normal again! I felt normal again!

And I know that all this is a bit corny but I do honestly believe that having someone to care for you and love you so much, so full of compassion and genuine, selfless interest, IS truly better than shoes. And I do know that I must have done something right in a previous life to deserve someone so wonderful as him... so kind and helpful and understanding and selfless and caring. And I hope that I can be there for him if ever he needs me!

So, corny as it may be, I just wanted to share this with you and hope that everyone can be with someone who will stand by them when they need them... with someone who will have compassion for them... I also hope I get back on my feet as soon as possible.. enough is enough now :)

ps.  I may have exaggerated a bit in this post...

Tuesday 27 October 2009


Imagine a sky so blue, so blue, a sky that made Nobel Price winner poet Odysseas Elytis write "my God, the amount of blue that you spend so we don't see you"... and under this blue, warmed from a sun that looks as if has nothing else to do but keep her warm, the Acropolis... and Parthenon so white that shines in the sunlight and combines with the blue of the sky in the most harmonious image... and imagine being there, close to it, able to see it and witness the beauty with your own two eyes...

Yes, I was in Athens recently... and yes, when I'm there my heart is filled with such joy that I usually cannot describe... it's not just because there I meet long loved friends, friends that are nearly (or sometimes better than...) family, friends I cannot but miss when we are apart... And it's not just because when there I always savour the tastes of Greece in little taverns, sitting outside and watching the people pass by... and it's not just because there I can enjoy the sound of (certainly one of...) the most beautiful language in the world... a language that sound nice even when people are saying bad things to one another (and yes, I can be as much biased as I very well please, thank you)...

No, it's all those and one thing more... it's this feeling of being there and doing exactly what people were doing at the same space 2500 years ago and then some! It's this amazing feeling of roots, of belonging to a place even if it's this little corner of an immense universe, of becoming one with it... and this is the feeling of security for me... whenever I'm in Athens, I look up and see the Acropolis, still standing there after wars, fires, looting, earthquakes and more wars, defying time and wrath and greed and the elements of nature and just... still standing!

And this is the most amazing feeling for me... better that slipping my foot into the most precious shoe, the most comfortable, the most valuable and the most beautiful... It's better and it is always there to feel my heart... and it's all I need to reassure myself that things are going to be fine, that no matter what happens, we will still be standing... like those "stones"... ;)

ps. the above stands even in times that my souvenir from Athens is a major flu.. still...

Monday 19 October 2009

about concerts...

Live concerts (as such) cannot, in my opinion, be classified in the "better than shoes" category of things... We all have dreadful experiences to share of that time that the girlfriend of the brother of our boyfriend (or something of that sort of relation...) said "Let's go see "roasted potatoes" playing, they are awesome!!!!"
... and we went... and they were not... In fact they were horrible, the music was crap, the sound worse and that tall guy in front of us failed to hide them from our sight the whole time... which would be a blessing as the singer, the bass player and the lead guitar were f-ugly... and that was the whole band...

So, now, a generalization is not appropriate... But sometimes, even in this part of the world, we find ourselves attending one of the good ones... One of those concerts that you know and love the band (or the artist) and you know the songs and you are there with a bunch of like-minded friends, who also know the band and sing the songs along, and you end up dancing and laughing and applauding like crazy and shouting "more, more" and it's great!!! It's like being a teenager for a while again... Or at least I guess it is like that as I did not go to too many concerts as a teenager... I do compensate now though :)

The other night I went to see Pixies playing live in Amsterdam... And though I can't say that I new a lot about their music (ashamed to admit that I though all their songs are like "Here comes your man"... more or less as bad as believing that all song by The Cure is like "Friday I'm in love"...) I knew a bit and in any case at the end it didn't matter!!! I was with a great group of people, in fact met a new neighbor who's super cool, and I was dancing and singing (the ones I knew the lyrics...) and laughing and I hag a blast!! And yes, as the totally wasted guy next to me said (repeatedly...) "whoa, Pixies, man... how cool is this..."!

Though I was just wearing a pair of running shoes (that matched perfectly the rest of my... well, shall we say, "casual" outfit and leave it there...) and did not see anything more interesting shoe-ways then Doc Martins at the concert, no, Prada was not present, I kid you not, the whole deal was better than shoes! And I would do it again... in fact, I will do it again :) And so should you! I promise you you won't regret it :)

PS. and in the improbable case that a band called "roasted potatoes" really does exist: I'm not referring to you, I have never been to one of your concerts and I'm sure you are really awesome and incredibly handsome!

Thursday 15 October 2009

sunshine :)

It's a truth universally acknowledged... you don't know what you've got 'till it's gone! And yes, the song was a big hit too, but I tend to believe that the truth came first... Anyway, I lived for 26 years of my life in a country where the sun shines continuously from April to October and then again in February for a couple of weeks and certainly about 3-4 days a week for the rest of the year... which is goooood! Because, human beings, like plants, need the sun to survive (goodness, this is very scientific...) and when we don't have it we become gloomy like the weather...

Then, I came to The Netherlands... where the sun, normally, doesn't shine... feel free to make the connection with all the other places where the sun doesn't shine... Mind you, this past summer has been a one-off thing and for those of you having come recently here, well, enjoy the exception while it lasts, dudes, because an exception it is! My experience, after 9 years, is that when it starts raining here, it forgets to stop... and there have been many summers spent carrying an umbrella and wearing wool cardigans and shawls and boots... usually Ugg boots in light camel and... oooops, lost track of my thoughts, sorry :)

And then winter comes and it's worse... dark and wet and depressing and cold and... not nice! So, yes, what I missed in these 9 years is the sun. And I did regret bitterly all the times I complained (back in my old life) about the heat and the sun burning and the long summer season that tired me... I guess I had to lose it to appreciate it... thank you Universe!

But every now and then, recently more often admittedly due to the exception I was telling you (or global warming... ) I wake up in the morning and the sun begins to shine (this is a song as well, aint'it... ) and everything looks marvellous! The colours, the people, the city, everything is better! The mood is good, dressing up not having to worry about mud and rain is a bliss, taking out those old sun glasses from their case (where they have been sleeping peacefully for, oh, very long) and putting them on to go out in the bright sunshine is... yes, it is better than shoes! And not only it is better, but it combines greatly with shoes as well!! Because it is on those days that one takes out of the box that pair of Chloé suede-and-leather pumps and wears them with pride...

Monday 12 October 2009

roasted pork and caipirinhas

Living in The Netherlands, when it comes to food, is very often... well, let's say challenging... On one hand, decent restaurants where we, people coming from countries with a rich food culture, can enjoy a nice meal, are usually expensive for what they offer... which means that an inner conflict as to whether spend the money in a good meal or a pair of black patent leather Jimmy Choo slingbacks is often present...

On the other hand, going to the supermarket and just buying (for example) a kilo of lamb or kid to cook at home is usually wishful thinking... most likely, we go to the supermarket and just not find the lamb (and certainly not the kid... who am I kidding...) or when we find it, it costs 8€ for 200gr... and we leave it where it is while cursing... Mind you, very often it is not about not being able to afford it, it's about refusing to pay this insultingly ridiculous amount of money! It's just lamb after all not gold!!!

But, being brought up in the south, and having learned since childhood to enjoy and appreciate food, creates a need to have it... and the need gives birth to resourcefulness... which results in solutions :) Shops are being opened with products from Portugal, for example, importers are being recruited to fulfil group orders of Greek products and Italians and Spanish are not left behind in the quest for good, craved produce from our home countries. So, we manage :)

If I were told that I would be enjoying freshly roasted baby pork in this flat landscape, I would most probably laugh... But, indeed it happened! And was soooooo delicious words don't even begin to describe... juicy and tender and perfectly seasoned and... lots of it, more than enough for a lively and incredibly interesting (not to mention large...) group of friends, hosted in a warm and cosy household of those that make you feel at home from the first time you visit...

And imagine that you savour this divine taste while accompanying it with the best caipirinhas this place has to offer, prepared by a Brazilian friend with freshly cut lime and lots and lots of cachaça... indeed, words were rolling out of ones mouth far more easily after two of those ;) And it was better than shoes! Every bite and every sip and every laughter... more desirable than a red sole... and you, my fellow shoe fans, know very well what that means ;)

P.S No, regretfully I can not promise you that you will be invited next time...

Monday 28 September 2009

Chocolates and the art of queuing...

Amsterdam is far, far, far from being my favorite European capital... being it so dirty does not help me love it... but, as fate wanted me residing in The Netherlands, and a shoe fan, I visit it every now and then to check what the shops there have to offer to my spoiled feet. Usually it's not much I'm afraid, so if you ever find yourselves in this part of the world, well, don't expect cleanness and a dissent selection of signature red sole foot candy :)

So, a couple of weeks ago, I did take the train to the north and 50' later I was there. Passing quickly the tourist-flooded part between the Centraal (not a typing mistake, the Dutch like lots of vowels in a row..) Station and the Dam, went bravely into the always crowded shopping district and headed to the "better end" of it, in search for a new pair of shoes... which obviously I NEEDED!!

But... at some point... and for reasons unknown to me and surely known to (and controlled by) some sort of higher force, I went off my tracks and ended up into a different part of the city... the part where the best chocolates I have ever tried in my whole life have their little house. Little indeed is the house and big the queue!! Now, don't take this the wrong way but... I don't queue! I come from a society where when people see that there is queue waiting to do what they set out to do... they leave it for another day :)

But, culture and mentality set aside and already captured by the smells, I did queue... patiently, breathing in and out, singing Sting's classics in my head... and when my turn came, I was rewarded!! As I sank my teeth in the soft, creamy chocolate exterior, filled with cranberries and more chocolate... and more chocolate... I got lost in the taste! Sheer pleasure!!! Feelings of completeness and warmth hugged me and put a smile on my face. Better than shoes?.. you bet!! In fact, I forgot all about anything else and I came home without my new pair of pumps... this time ;)

ps. The name of the chocolate temple will only be revealed on request ;)

Friday 25 September 2009


...are they really shoes??... technically yes (in my humble opinion). You put them on your feet, they protect them from dust, injuries and the occasional dog pooh on the pavement that went unnoticed (until stepped upon...) and you take them out for sleep... surely these are the universally acknowledged characteristics of shoes...

So, what am I here talking that shoes are better than shoes?? Would be insane... No, dearests. I'm not saying that... and will immediately (and finally) say what I'm saying!

Imagine this.... white sandy beach, clean as can be, leading your steps to an ocean so blue you think that God painted it herself with her watercolours. Sun above, so bright and warm and friendly you just want to start chatting with him. Light breeze, so tender, caressing your body like a lover who is actually into you... (I know... I know... my romantic moment will pass any second now...)

And after a long walk on the sea shore, under the lovely sun, after having enjoyed the blue view and the sound of the waves... then a little restaurant by the beach (well... ON the beach), serving you with the best caipirinha in the world (as I know it...) and sea food to die for!! And then you dig into the plate with the fresh shrimp (that is "medium" in size but almost as big as the havaianas you have on your feet) and savour the taste of the ocean!

And if all that does not sound better than shoes to you, better even than a pair of colour-of-the-rainbow Jimmy Choo sandals, than add a nap on the beach after lunch... falling gently asleep by the sounds of the ocean... That, my friends IS better than shoes! That is life in its best...